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Working With Content Frameworks: How to Build Epic Content Fast

Working With Content Frameworks: How to Build Epic Content Fast

As he sat in the chair, sweating and shaking profusely, John had two choices: to either pass the test or get shot by his psycho dad…

John was a dull student, everyone knew that. Calling him an “F student” was an overstatement. And on this hot afternoon, as he sat in the exam room, John was faced with being expelled from school for the second time in two years.

His only saving grace was the essay test he had to write and pass. But the thing is, John didn’t know anything about writing good essays. And every time the thought of failing crossed his mind, he remembered his father’s shot gun at home.

His dad shot his elder brother, William, in the leg because he was suspended for two weeks for missing tests. Now, John faced the same fate. In fact, he could already feel his left leg throbbing from gunshot wounds. Ouch!

For John, staying in school and staying alive was his challenge—he just had to make it work. For you, however, there are bills to pay, a family to feed, a life to live and a business to run, but for some reason you’re not seeing any traction. The only thing that’s standing in your way is the ability to create just one epic blog post that would bring in all the sales you want. But the thing is, creating epic content isn’t one of your strong points, or so you think.

Anyone can create epic content, but for some it could take five to six hours just to write a 1,000 word blog post. And with the challenges in your life and business, you don’t have that luxury of time. So, what do you do?

Fill In the Gaps Using Content Frameworks

John was probably taught how to create good essays using frameworks, but I guess he didn’t pay attention during that class. So, this is your class and I’m you tutor…let’s get going.

Why should you use content frameworks? Because it works, period!

Actually, creating content that people want, in a way that they would appreciate it and see the value within, isn’t that simple. In any place you find yourself, there are rules governing your existence there. And as long as you abide by those rules, you’re safe.

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The same goes for the internet. In order to build an effective content marketing strategy for your business, there are rules that govern creating content for the internet. Some people know these rules and use them to their advantage to get more traffic, engagement, or sales. Others ignore these rules because they feel they are not important. You’re not one of them, are you?

A content framework gives you a “skeletal” structure that your content should follow if you really want to get results. And the good thing is that this structure makes creating content pretty fast because all you do is fill in the gaps.

Content frameworks are also flexible, meaning you can restructure them to suit your business and your kind of audience.

How to Use Content Frameworks

Now this is the part that John would have wished he knew.

Back in high school, you were taught that articles have to follow a basic outline:

Title of the article ———– Introduction ———– Body ———– Conclusion

Well, the good thing is that it still follows the same outline. Only it looks somewhat like this:

content frameworks infographic

    It looks simple, right? Let’s break it up:

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    1. The Title or Headline

    Your headline should be able to make the reader decide whether to read your content or just pass by. It should start selling to your reader what’s in your content even before they start reading the introduction.

    Now the thing is you may not get the headline right every time. I also mess it up sometimes. But with practice, you’ll get the hang of it and it’ll get easier.

    If there’s nothing else online that has formulas to work with, headlines do. So, I really won’t go into that here. Here are a few great resources that will help you create headlines that rock:

    How to Write Magnetic Headlines by Brian Clark

    101 Headline Formulas by Peter Sandeen

    52 Headline Hacks by Jon Morrow

    2. The Introduction

    The introduction is the next step in drawing in your reader. If you got it right in your headline and your introduction is crap, then that content has failed. Your content will only bring results if the reader gets to the end of it and follows the instructions in your call to action.

    So, what goes into the introduction to make it work?

    Nothing much: Just a simple, compelling story that lights up your reader’s brain and keeps them glued to their screens. But like everything else, stories have structures.

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    As you have seen in the diagram, you start your introduction with a hook.

    What’s a hook? This is simply a statement in your story or about your article that is compelling enough to make the reader move to the next sentence. That’s the only purpose. Get this right and you’ll see your “Average time on site” in your analytics increase by an extra few seconds.

    After the hook comes the real story from the beginning. It is important to note that your story has guidelines as well:

    1. It must not be disconnected from the hook.

    2. It should state the problem that your reader is facing. And then focus on that problem.

    3. It should have a main character, which could be your reader or a fictional character with a name.

    4. Give specific details in your story. Saying, “Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,” wouldn’t have the same effect as saying, “Humpty Dumpty fell off a six-foot fence and lost his left leg.”

    After the story comes the “conclusion to the introduction.” This is where you give your reader hope that his or her problem can be solved. You gradually hint at the solution, without explicitly stating it. Just keep them hanging in there.

    3. The Body

    The real value of your content is in the body. The information that could turn the life of your reader around should be found in the body. For example, what you’re reading now is in the body of this post.

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    So what goes into the body of your content to make it work?

    Simple: A subheadline and a whole lot of value!

    The subheadline is simply a continuation of what you finished off with in your introduction. In a few words it briefly explains what you’re about to teach your audience. The body of this article started with, “Fill in the gaps using content frameworks.” For me, I particularly use it to answer a question I ask at the end of the introduction.

    After the subheadline comes a brief introduction to what you’re about to teach the reader and then you go to the main points. Depending on the kind of article you’re writing, you could separate your main points using bullets (if it’s a list article), or break them up as subheadlines as well. In this post, I combined the two methods.

    4. The Conclusion

    Your conclusion must do two things: Assure the reader that he or she has the solution and help him or her to take action.

    So what goes into the conclusion?

    Three things: A summary of the content, what the reader should expect when he or she takes action, and then your call to action (what the reader should do next to take action). If you started your content with a story, you should also end it here. What does this mean? It means you’re about to find out whether John got shot by his dad or not!

    It’s important to note that every part of your content must communicate value to the reader and must be connected. By making your introductory story flow into the body and also into the conclusion, you lead the reader on a journey that would finally end on your site. That’s some extra traffic juice. And the good thing is that you can make this a consistent habit by always using content frameworks to create your content. It’ll not only add more value to your audience, but also to your pocket and lifestyle.

    Too bad John didn’t know about frameworks and how to use them to create good essays. But the good thing is that he didn’t get shot by his father. That was a huge relief…for a moment. The bad thing is his dad used a sledge hammer instead!

    But unlike John, you know how to use content frameworks. So use it to create epic content that cuts down your writing time to one hour or less.

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    Last Updated on July 17, 2019

    The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

    The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

    What happens in our heads when we set goals?

    Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

    Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

    According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

    Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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    Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

    Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

    The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

    Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

    So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

    Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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    One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

    Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

    Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

    The Neurology of Ownership

    Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

    In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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    But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

    This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

    Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

    The Upshot for Goal-Setters

    So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

    On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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    It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

    On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

    But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

    More About Goals Setting

    Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

    Reference

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